Friday, January 6, 2017
Evanston: joy; found; betrayal
An article in THE GUARDIAN the other day with the fetching title, ‘Lycra leggings - the final step in the evolution of a running fanatic’ included these observations about joy:
All of which leads us to the final phase, the confirmation, the apotheosis. What’s the one indisputable hallmark of the true convert? The classic giveaway? Simple. It’s joy. Yup. Nothing more complicated than that. It’s that tingle you get as you lace up your shoes. It’s that buzz when you break into your rhythm, when you hit your groove. It’s that exhilaration at seeing the end. It’s a joy that is deep and certain. Sometimes euphoric, but usually not. It’s a joy that recharges and revives, re-energises and repairs. Long after your run is done, it’s there, lingering on. Hang up your boots and it clings on just the same. By their joy, you shall know them.
I don’t think most people experience enough joy, and many none. I think you must seek it, although sometimes it will spontaneously come to you, as when I stick my head out GANNET’s hatch and find a sky and sea of ethereal beauty. I don’t think it possible to have too much. I find joy in the sight of Carol. I trust I will find joy in the Atlantic Ocean this year.
I wish you joy.
(The entire article can be found here.)
You may recall that last month I mentioned that Steve Earley had come across a line attributed to me that I did not remember writing. If a sailor doesn’t learn anything more from the sea than how to reef a sail, the voyage wasn’t worth making.
Yesterday another friend brought the Apologia at the beginning of THE OCEAN WAITS to my attention and I find that the above line is the third sentence. It is a good line. I’m pleased that I really wrote it.
An ‘apologia’ is not an apology, but a defense of one’s ideas, actions and, most famously by John Henry Newman, life. I learned the word reading his Apologia pro Vita Sua in a college English class.
One of my oldest friends, who is in fact three months younger than I, but here I mean ‘oldest’ in terms of how long we have known one another, noted in a recent email that I am the only one of her friends, and including herself, who is not facing a life threatening disease. A sobering and saddening thought. Time and chance happens to us all, but not equally.
In this I might just be lucky and have won the genetic lottery, but that I have continued to use my body hard and didn’t spend forty years sitting behind a desk may have helped. We are meant to be hunter/gatherers, not office workers. It is an axiom of history that all revolutions are betrayed. By making us sedentary the agricultural revolution a few millennia ago, which is the basis for our societies and culture, betrays us.
The photo has nothing to do with any of this. I just miss New Zealand.